All Underneath the Eildon Tree by Joshua Gage

I am cast in jagged leaf and thorn.
Blessed is the heavy breeze of autumn.

The commas have pulled themselves free
from their cocoons and my empty fingers.

I am the bridge between these lands
Lonely, lonely in the bitter night.

Orange foliage and naked limb,
the world strips itself for sleep.

It has been seven years
and no one has heard me.

The lady is here, and her court.
After them, there is nothing.

She stands verdant in the wind.
Her hair is blowzed with white blossoms.

Toadstools grow in circles around her feet
and her red berries feed us.

My lady bathes me in salt water
under a sunless morning.

After seven years, I am nothing.
Blessed is the heavy breeze of autumn.

Ragged wings have pulled me free,
unlocked me from this bark.

Only her songs remain now, deep roots
squirming in the earth of my tongue.

The sun paints the forest green behind me.
It tastes warm, and I sleep.

Joshua Gage is an ornery curmudgeon from Cleveland, OH. His chapbook, Deep Cleveland Lenten Blues, is available from Deep Cleveland Press, and his first full-length collection, breaths, is available from VanZeno Press. He is a graduate of the Low Residency MFA Program in Creative Writing at Naropa University. He has a penchant for Pendleton shirts, rye whiskey and any poem strong enough to yank the breath out of his lungs. He stomps around Cleveland in a purple bathrobe where he hosts the monthly Deep Cleveland Poetry hour and enjoys the beer at Brew Kettle.

Image: Tree, Carl Ludwig Frommel, ca. 1800.